WJ Jeep Grand Cherokee Sales, Production Dates & Milestones
Welcome to the JeepSpecs.com in-depth page on WJ Generation Jeep Grand Cherokee sales, production dates & milestones. We have organized as much information as we could find into a helpful table below. Is something incorrect or missing? Please get in touch with us and we’ll fix it!
WJ world debut launch at the Cobo Center in Detroit, June 16, 1998
The first WJ, shown above. The white 1999 Limited was produced on July 17th, 1998 and was signed by all of the plant employees as well as management and others associated with the development of the all-new Jeep. The Jefferson North Assembly Plant started up with single-shift production of the new Grand Cherokee. Second and third shifts were added in August. A total of 1,456 WJ’s are built during July, another 10,000 in August and more than 20,000 each month the rest of the year.
The last WJ
The last WJ Grand Cherokee: No. 1,557,859 rolls out of JNAP
The last WJ series Grand Cherokee, a white Laredo model, rolled off the assembly lines at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant Friday May 21, 2004. Introduced 6 years ago in 1998, the 2nd generation WJ series has been very successful sales-wise. At retail, it is estimated that more than 1.4 million WJs will have been sold – incredibly close to the number of 1st generation ’93-’98 ZJ’s sold (1,428,095). The total number of Grand Cherokees produced now stands at more than 3 million.
During the last month of production the Jeep plant ran extra overtime to stockpile enough Grand Cherokees to last until the new model becomes available in early October. As of May 1st Jeep had 73,700 units in inventory, a 125-day supply. The sixteen production days in May added to that supply which should comfortably get Jeep through the end of the 2004 sales year.
Jefferson North will shutdown production for more than 9-weeks to retool for the all-new 2005 Grand Cherokee. Extensive remodeling and modernization will be done at the plant and when finished Jeep will be able to run multiple models while simultaneously piloting another vehicle on the same line. Productivity and efficiency will also be increased dramatically. Pilot production of the redesigned Jeep will begin in June with production versions rolling off the lines starting July 26th. In the summer of 2005, Jefferson North will be producing both the 2006 Grand Cherokee and the new 2006 “XK” 7-passenger “Commander” Jeep. Grand Cherokee production for model year 2005 will end on July 8th 2005, with 2006 production starting on July 18th.
Dealer orders for the new 2005 Grand Cherokee were accepted starting in mid-June 2004.
For information on the all-new 2005 %quot;WK” Grand Cherokee,
Production started July 17, 1998 and commenced on May 21st, 2004
WJ Program and development costs
Tooling and U.S. plant
New engines and transmissions
Graz plant, RHD tooling
1999 WJ MSRP* at Introduction
(*Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price, including $525 Destination charge)
Jefferson North Assembly Plant
Jeep Grand Cherokee
ZJ (1992-1998) WJ (1999-2004) WK (2005-2010?)
A new facility was built in 1991, replacing the original 75-year old Jefferson plant. The production launch of the first Jeep Grand Cherokee (“ZJ”) was on January 14, 1992. A $750 million 3-year renovation and expansion was completed in 1998, adding over 800,000 square feet. A second major renovation is taking place during May-July of 2004 in preparation for the new 2005 model and next year’s 2006 luxury “Commander” model.
2101 Conner Avenue, Detroit, MI 48215
955 vehicles per day, two shifts
1336 vehicles per day, three shifts
2.6 Million square feet
357 Robots in the plant
2791 employees (as of 8/2004)
120,000 hours (2003)
U.A.W. (United Auto Workers) Local #7, #889, and #412
Grand Cherokee production dates & milestones
Chrysler head Bob Lutz first reveals the Grand Cherokee concept at the 1989 Detroit auto show.
The first Grand Cherokee (code-named “ZJ”) is assembled at the Jefferson North Assembly plant (JNAP). A total of 106 pre-production 1993 models are built ahead of the January 14, 1992 production launch.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is introduced at the 1992 North American International Auto Show in Detroit and is driven THROUGH the glass walls of the Cobo Exhibition Center by Chrysler President, Bob Lutz. The Grand Cherokee is the first 4×4 to be fitted with a standard driver’s side airbag.
January 14, 1992
Production starts for the new 1993 Grand Cherokee. 326 units are built during January and 2,335 more in February. Production gradually increases throughout the year, peaking at 19,000 in October. Sales are successful for the new Grand Cherokee. Total model year retail sales tops 216,000 units.
April 19, 1992
The new 1993 Grand Cherokee is publicly announced.
1994 models introduced. Grand Wagoneer dropped, new Orvis package, Limited gets 4-wheel disc brakes, side door beams added.
1995 models introduced. 4-wheel disc brakes become standard on all models, rear tailgate adds optional flip up glass hatch, 5.2L V8 gets modest torque increase, 5-speed manual transmission dropped.
Jeep and Steyr Daimler Puch form a joint venture in 1993 and begin production of RHD (and LHD) Grand Cherokees in Graz, Austria in October 1994.
1996 models introduced. New exterior appearance – grille, fascias, cladding and nameplates and an all-new interior. Driver and passenger air bags are standard, part-time only Command-Trac dropped, refinements to engine make it smoother & quieter.
April 26, 1996
The one-millionth Grand Cherokee ZJ rolls off the assembly line.
WJ conversion begins at JNAP, 365,000 square foot addition to body shop, third paint line added.
1997 models go on sale. New, improved ABS system, new steering column design, upgraded sound systems, new TSi model.
March 26, 1997
At the New York Auto Show Chrysler formerly announces the powerful new 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited, slated for fall availability. “Combines the performance of a 245 horsepower 5.9-liter V-8 engine with more luxury and authentic Jeep capability”. Sold in overseas markets as the Grand Cherokee LX. 1997 was the last model year for the 1st generation ZJ series.
First WJ F1 pilot vehicles built at CTC (Chrysler Technology Center). Error/mistake-proofing simulations started at JNAP.
1998 models go on sale. Limited gets a new 5.9L optional engine. Orvis designer package dropped.
October 7, 1997
Special Edition 1998 model Grand Cherokee Laredo announced.
May 22, 1998
The last of 1,662,552 ZJ Grand Cherokees is built. The plant shuts down to retool for the all-new 1999 Grand Cherokee “WJ”.Note: One of the last export models (“ZG” series) has been confirmed to have been built on July 24th, 1998. Another model, VIN # WY128672 shows a build date of August 1998.
Production starts for the all-new 4.7-liter V-8 engine slated for the 1999 Grand Cherokee. In preparation, the one-million square-foot Mack Avenue Engine facility underwent a three-year, $930 million metamorphosis that left the ceiling and the structural steel as the only original parts.
June 15, 1998
Verification of assembly line equipment begins, with two weeks scheduled for systems trials and debugging.
June 16, 1998
On this day at 1:00pm, the new Grand Cherokee WJ was officially introduced at the Cobo Center in Detroit – this was the world wide introduction of the 2nd generation “All-new 1999 Grand Cherokee”, promoted by Chrysler to be “The Most Capable Sport Utility Ever”.
June 29, 1998
1999 WJ production run, 49 vehicles are built 6/29 and 6/30. 126 more WJ pilots are built ahead of the July 17 production launch.
July 9, 1998
Chrysler launches production of its new 45RFE rear-wheel-drive transmission. Along with the 4.7 liter V-8, it will power the 1999 Grand Cherokee and, later, Ram trucks.
July 17, 1998
WJ Job #1 – The Jefferson North Assembly Plant starts up with single-shift production of the new 1999 Grand Cherokee. “The birth of the WJ”. A total of 1,456 WJ’s are built during July, another 10,000 in August and more than 20,000 each month the rest of the year.
August 3, 1998
JNAP Second shift launch
August 17, 1998
JNAP Third shift launch
August 24, 1998
Shipments to dealers of the new Grand Cherokee began this week
September 4, 1998
The all-new 1999 Grand Cherokee officially goes on sale in the USA.
November 17, 1998
Chrysler Corporation merges with Daimler-Benz to create DaimlerChrysler, the largest automotive union in the history of automobile manufacturing.
December 9, 1998
The all-new Grand Cherokee is unveiled in Europe for first time (Bologna Motor Show, Italy)
December 29, 1998
DaimlerChrysler unveils the Jeep Commander concept vehicle during the sport utility’s world debut for media at the LA Auto Show.
Production of the all-new Grand Cherokee begins for international markets at assembly plants in Austria & South America. The first RHD (right-hand drive) WJ’s are built.
The all-new Grand Cherokee goes on sale in international markets.
1999 WJ production ends
2000 WJ production begins
October 28, 1999
JNAP holds a celebration as Jeep Grand Cherokee No. 2,000,000 and No. 2,000,001 roll off the assembly lines.
January 2, 2000
Jefferson North Assembly Plant Y2K validation. During a 4-hour special Sunday trial run, 181 Grand Cherokees are built with no glitches encountered. Jefferson North Plant manager Fred Martino-DiCicco and UAW Local President Gerald Wooten drove one of the first volume production vehicles off the assembly line to a gathering of employees and media.
2000 WJ production ends
2001 WJ production begins
October 23, 2000
Commander 2 concept Jeep unveiled
February 5, 2001
Special 60th Anniversary Edition models of the Grand Cherokee, Wrangler and Cherokee are released for a limited time period. Grand Cherokee sales for this edition totaled 3,822.
March 27, 2001
2002 Grand Cherokee Special Edition introduced at the New York Auto Show.
June 18, 2001
HO engine production begins
July 6, 2001
2001 WJ production ends
July 16, 2001
2002 WJ production begins
2002 model year sales launch. New upscale Overland model is added to the line-up. Several new major options are introduced, including side airbags, 4.7L High Output engine, adjustable pedals, Electroluminescent gauges, Rain-Sense wipers and a Tire Pressure Monitor System.
September 28, 2001
2002 Grand Cherokee Laredo Sport announced by Jeep
October 02, 2001
Chrysler group Jeep exhibit opens at Walter P. Chrysler Museum
November 15, 2001
2002 Grand Cherokee Laredo Sport starts to arrive in showrooms
June 3, 2002
2003 Grand Cherokee order banks open
June 11, 2002
A new Jeep concept vehicle was unveiled at the DaimlerChrysler Innovation Symposium in Stuttgart, Germany. The Grand Cherokee Concierge was designed for testing safety features such as Active Night Vision, a new advanced SmarTire monitor system and other technologies.
July 3, 2002
2002 WJ production ends
July 9, 2002
Starting this day, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles are covered by a seven-year or 70,000-mile powertrain warranty on all new Chrysler Group vehicles. This industry-leading warranty is fully transferable to subsequent owner and represents Chrysler Group’s long term multi-brand campaign to underscore quality gains.
July 22, 2002
2003 WJ production begins
The one-millionth WJ is sold
October 15, 2002
Ordering closes for the 2003 model year.
October 30, 2002
2004 Grand Cherokee order banks open
December 23, 2002
2003 WJ production ends, shortest WJ model year.
January 2, 2003
Production begins for model year 2004 Grand Cherokees. First WJ refreshening.
January 5, 2003
2004 WJ models introduced at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. New 2004 “Freedom” Edition introduced.
2004 Laredo and Limited models begin to arrive in showrooms. Production of 2004 Overland model begins.Production of WK pilots begin, “Job #0”.
March 10, 2003
Production of the new limited-run “Freedom Edition” model begins.
September 18, 2003
“Trail Ready” advertising campaign announced. Badges to appear on new Jeep vehicles immediately. Advertising start date set for mid-October.
October 6, 2003
Production start-up for the new “Columbia Edition” Grand Cherokee.
November 17, 2003
2005 WK unveiled for the first time (to dealers and selected Press members), Cobo Hall, Detroit.
December 22, 2003
Production ends for the “Columbia Edition”.
Production startup for 5.7L Hemi engines with new Cylinder Deactivation feature.
Ordering closes for the Grand Cherokee 2004 model year.
April 7, 2004
2005 Grand Cherokee world premiere for the press, New York Auto Show.
April 9, 2004
2005 Grand Cherokee world premiere for the public, New York Auto Show.
Grand Cherokee “Rocky Mountain Edition” released, the last WJ model to be manufactured.
May 21, 2004
The last WJ series Grand Cherokee rolls off the assembly lines. The plant closes for approximately 2 months to retool for the all-new 2005 model.
July 26, 2004
All new 2005 “WK” Grand Cherokee production start-up (Job #1).
2004 Grand Cherokee “WG” export model – end of production for 4.0 models
All new 2005 “WK” Grand Cherokee scheduled to start arriving in dealer showrooms (late September)
2004 Grand Cherokee “WG” export model – end of production for 4.7 models
October 21, 2004
All new 2005 “WK” featured for “Premiere Nights”, a national dealer event to formally introduce and showcase the new Grand Cherokee to the public.
2004 Grand Cherokee “WG” export model – end of production for 4.7 HO models
2004 Grand Cherokee “WG” export model – end of production for 2.7 Turbo Diesel models
First 2006 WK Grand Cherokee volume production pilot models are built at Jefferson North, including the Laredo, Limited Overland and SRT-8 models.
First 2006 XK Commander volume production pilot models are built at Jefferson North.
2005 Grand Cherokee “WH” export model premiere at the Geneva International Motor Show
March 7, 2005
2005 Grand Cherokee “WH” export model volume production startup for 4.7L and 5.7L models (Job #1)
March 18, 2005
2006 Grand Cherokee SRT-8 world premiere, Live with Regis and Kelly show, New York.
March 23, 2005
2006 Jeep Commander world premiere, New York International Auto Show
March 23, 2005
2006 Grand Cherokee SRT-8 introduction, New York International Auto Show
May 2, 2005
2005 Grand Cherokee “WH” export model volume production startup for 3.0 V6 CRD models (Job #1)
July 5, 2005
2006 WK Grand Cherokee production startup
July 8, 2005
2005 WK Grand Cherokee final day of production (Buildout)
July 18, 2005
2006 “XK” Commander production launch
Sales introduction for the 2006 WK and XK models
September 12, 2005
World premiere of the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot concept models at the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA)
November 5, 2005
Production launch for the 2006 Grand Cherokee SRT-8 models
December 23, 2005
2005 Grand Cherokee “WH” export model production end (Buildout)
First Grand Cherokee SRT-8 models begin arriving to dealers
January 9, 2006
Start of production for 2006 WH Grand Cherokee export models
January 16, 2006
Start of production for 2006 XH Commander export models
On-sale date for the european export models of the Jeep Commander
April 12, 2006
World premiere of production versions of the Jeep Compass and Patriot at the NY Auto Show
May 30, 2006
Start of production for the 2007 Jeep Compass
June 30, 2006
End of production for 2006 WK and XK models
On-sale date for the european export models of the Grand Cherokee SRT-8
July 17, 2006
Start of production for 2007 WK and XK models
Start of production for the 2007 Jeep Patriot
October 13, 2006
End of production for 2006 WH Grand Cherokee and WK Commander export models
July 13, 2007
End of production for 2007 WK Grand Cherokee and XK Commander models
Start of production for 2008 WK Grand Cherokee and XK Commander models